Stage Stores, Inc. said total sales for the four week February period ended Feb. 28, 2009 decreased 4.7% to $100.9 million from $105.9 million in the prior year four week period ended March 1, 2008.

Comparable store sales decreased 8.6% this year versus a decrease of 2.5% last year.

The company noted that its cosmetics business achieved a comparable store sales increase during the month, while its accessories, dresses, intimate apparel, men’s and petites categories all performed better than the company average.

The company also noted that the Southwest and the Midwest were its best performing regions, while its stores along the east coast had the weakest results.

Andy Hall, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, “February’s comparable store sales were negatively impacted by our reduced clearance levels. With a continued focus on inventory management, we entered February with 13% less clearance inventory than last year. This has us positioned well for spring, and we were generally pleased with the early selling of our new spring product. Looking ahead, we expect comparable store sales in March to be down low double digits due to the Easter calendar shift.”

Store Activity

During February, the company closed its Peebles store in Laurinburg, NC. In March, the company expects to open two new stores and to reopen its hurricane damaged store in Galveston, TX. Eight new store openings are planned for April.

Bank of America and Merrill Lynch 2009 Consumer Conference

Stage Stores will make a presentation at the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch 2009 Consumer Conference on Thursday, March 12, 2009, at 1:40 p.m. Eastern Time. The conference is being held at The Palace Hotel in New York City.